New highways Code of Practice delayed


The new national Code of Practice for highways maintenance will be delayed until at least summer 2016 the Department for Transport (DfT) has announced, due to issues around its ‘risk-based approach’.

A final version of the new code, Well-managed Highways Infrastructure, had originally been planned for this November, however following more than 600 responses to the consultation on the draft version, significant concerns arose about implementing the document’s strategy.

A statement shared with Transport Network by Atkins, which is working with government on the project, said: ‘From the comments received one of the most significant issues identified was regarding the risk-based approach and how this may be implemented in a highway authority context.

‘As such, the DfT has agreed additional guidance will be developed to support practitioners in this area. Due to this, it has been agreed by the steering group that the revised release date of the code will be summer 2016 to accommodate the further work required.’

Steve Berry OBE, head of highways maintenance at the DfT and code of practice steering group member said: ‘The DfT and UK Roads Liaison Group would like to thank all those who have contributed to the process so far.

'The feedback received has indicated a strong support for this review and the fundamental principles of the revised code. All comments received will be considered, and where appropriate amendments to the code will be made. A number of key issues have been identified from the consultation, and the Department for Transport and steering group are now responding actively to this feedback.’

Comments came flooding in for the consultation from several dozen organisations, representing highways, structures and lighting practitioners as well as views from professional institutions, user groups and risk, legal and insurance backgrounds.

Richard Hayes, chief executive of the Institute of Highway Engineers, said: ‘We do welcome the arrangement to consider training to helping authorities in developing the risk approach and would be happy to assist to undertake this. It is still likely to be challenging for authorities given the short extension to implementation and I would stress that they use this time wisely and take the opportunity to make early moves towards the new approach.’

A source close to the process added: 'We are currently reviewing and addressing the comments received. The consultation process has demonstrated that there is very strong support for the risk based approach from all parts of the sector.

'The additional guidance will aim to support local authorities in implementing the risk based approach. We can provide more information as the work develops.'

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